Boom 94.5 Fest
With Master P, Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane and more
Fair Park, Dallas
Saturday, April 30, 2016
This year's Boom 94.5 Festival wasn't just a love letter to the history of rap. It was a group therapy session for the lovers and practitioners of hip-hop. The theme of the festival, held on Saturday at Fair Park, was “The Evolution of Hip-Hop,” a concept borne out by pairing legends Big Daddy Kane and Kurtis Blow with old and new No Limit Soldiers. Even the D.O.C., who was presented with the old school hip-hop station's first-ever Hip-Hop Legends Award, felt the love.
“Anybody out there that’s about this thing here, that’s trying to get it, you have my support," said the D.O.C., whose own rise to greatness was cut short by a tragic car accident. He credited Dallas with having helped shape the West Coast rap sound that he was a part of with N.W.A. and Death Row Records in the late 1980s. "Anything that I can do, holler at me. I got you, because Dallas-Ft. Worth is the shit.”
The numerous "No Concealed Weapons" signs at the Checkpoint Charlie-esque entrance almost felt like a joke thanks to the feel-good vibe of the day. Even when things seemed to get slow or awkward no one seemed to notice or mind. The food was good, the scent of herb was pungent and the air was thick with bass blasting beats. Even the last-minute move indoors due to the threat of bad weather didn't dampen spirits.
Kurtis Blow presented a set that encapsulated the day. The crowed died down somewhat after Kurtis Blow delivered a full-on sermon before inviting everyone a prayer group on stage right. Hosts and fellow artists alike commented on how at least some of the people in the crowd probably could use a little Jesus in their lives. He wasn't the only one to get into such heavy territory, as Missy Elliott protégé Lil Mo delivered some real talk about her relationship dramas and 2007 arrest.
Blow seemed to be rejuvenated by the very act of holding the mic. He popped and locked before giving an open call to anyone with b-boy skills to come up on stage for their 15 minutes, before demolishing them all with a perfectly executed six-step into a baby freeze.
Being first rapper to ever earn a platinum record, Blow’s set was a whirlwind of action. Aside from the dancing, he put on a lengthy medley of rap songs through the ages. He rapped some line for line like the somewhat out of place “Jump Around,” by House of Pain, and others, like Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” were rechristened as Kurtis Blow originals.
Fellow legend Big Daddy Kane was a tour de force as well, as he gyrated and pounced before jumping off stage to shake hands with the entire front row during “Smooth Operator.” But arguably, the biggest set of the night came from Master P and his newly revitalized No Limit crew. He only played snippets of songs in stop-start fashion, as he worked his way through his discography. Each time a new track dropped, the crowd had an immediate reaction, as if transported in time and space to the moment they first heard “Wobble Wobble” or “Break ‘Em Off Somethin’.”
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New member of the No Limit crew, and Master P’s latest prodigy, MoeRoy (playfully dubbed the Trap Michael Jackson) performed his track “To the Top I Go,” which served as the perfect segue to the end of the night. MoeRoy spun like a top as he rhymed, losing articles of clothing and accessories as his bleached braids danced wildly, all without skipping a beat.
As the night drew to a close, there was room for one more tribute to be made. Master P requested all lighters and hands go into the air in honor of Prince as he and the No Limit Boys gave a heartfelt rendition of “I Miss My Homies.” It a touching and fitting way to end a day that a made of honoring hip hop's legends — while they were still here to be appreciated .